Einkorn genomics sheds light on history of the oldest domesticated wheat

[Posted on September 15, 2023]
The journal article “Einkorn genomics sheds light on history of the oldest domesticated wheat” was published.

Key message: This manuscript describes a high quality genome of world oldest cultivated wheat "Einkorn wheat" and its potential in future wheat improvement.

Open access article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-023-06389-7

Einkorn (Triticum monococcum) was the first domesticated wheat species, and was central to the birth of agriculture and the Neolithic Revolution in the Fertile Crescent around 10,000 years ago. Here we generate and analyse 5.2-Gb genome assemblies for wild and domesticated einkorn, including completely assembled centromeres. Einkorn centromeres are highly dynamic, showing evidence of ancient and recent centromere shifts caused by structural rearrangements. Whole-genome sequencing analysis of a diversity panel uncovered the population structure and evolutionary history of einkorn, revealing complex patterns of hybridizations and introgressions after the dispersal of domesticated einkorn from the Fertile Crescent. We also show that around 1% of the modern bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) A subgenome originates from einkorn.

These resources and findings highlight the history of einkorn evolution and provide a basis to accelerate the genomics-assisted improvement of einkorn and bread wheat.

Resources: https://wheat.pw.usda.gov/GG3/pangenome

GrainGenes hosts an interactive webpage for the data described in the manuscript. This webpage provides:
- latest JBrowse2 genome browser
- chromosome level BLAST search
- synteny viewer between Monococcum and other wheat varieties
- a search feature for two reference monococcum assembles.